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By Jeremy Schiffres, Daily and Sunday Freeman, Kingston, N.Y.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Retail Rebound III

This past Saturday, The Associated Press reported that Black Friday sales volume at stores across the United States was about 3 percent better this year than last.

Then, on Monday, the AP reported that retail sales for the entire post-Thanksgiving weekend, Friday through Sunday, were more than 7 percent better in 2008 than 2007.

And word came on Wednesday, again via the AP, that online sales this past Monday – the busiest Internet shopping day of the year – were a mind-blowing 15 percent better than on the same Monday a year ago.

Someone explain to me, then, why a separate AP story about the economy on Wednesday began with these words: “The country’s economic picture has darkened further as Americans hunkered down heading into the holiday, forcing retailers to ring up fewer sales ….”

Am I missing something here?
Black Friday sales were up.
Holiday weekend sales were up.
Internet transactions on Monday were up.
And retail activity accounts for two-thirds of the gross domestic product, the nation’s main gauge of economic activity, meaning the current holiday shopping season may actually be the beginning of a turnaround.

How, then, has the U.S. economic picture “darkened further”? What’s this baloney about retailers being forced “to ring up fewer sales”? And who are these people who are “hunkered down heading into the holiday”? Certainly not the millions of shoppers who filled the nation’s stores after Thanksgiving and went on buying sprees while sitting at their computers on Monday.

There’s no doubt this country is having economic problems, but irresponsible news reporters need not make the situation appear worse than it is. It’s almost as if such writers are wishing economic doom on the United States and its people. Well, I hate to break to all the pessimistic penmen, but the people appear to be speaking – and their message is that things aren’t as bad as some would have us believe.



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